Monday, 7 July 2014

EnkElination "Tears of Lust" Review by Amelia

Current Line-Up:
Elina - Vocals
Shadow - Guitars
Alasdair - Bass
Ben - Drums

01 Tears of Lust
02 Higher Ground
03 Never Ending
04 Lullaby
05 Insane
06 What Have You Become
07 Reborn
08 Chimeras
09 Changeling
10 Abyss
11 Last Time Together

EnkElination are a symphonic metal quartet based in London. Founded by former opera singer Elina in 2011, the band will be releasing their debut album "Tears of Lust" on 21st July 2014. 

I pressed the play button to listen to "Tears of Lust" not knowing much about the band and, needless to say, I was very impressed with the album especially considering that this is their debut album. I would say it's your generic symphonic metal in the sense that it's got all the ingredients a symphonic metal fan could wish for in an album... classical female vocals, heavy guitar riffs topped with soft keyboard notes but, there's something about this album that I can't quite put my finger on. I mean, it took me a little longer to write this review when compared to other reviews I've written just because I couldn't find the right words to describe what I thought and felt about the album.

There isn't a dud song on the album as they are all well written both musically and lyrically. EnkElination, I would say, are up there with Delain when discussing the essence of professionalism about the band. All that's left to say is, give "Tears of Lust" a go if symphonic metal is your thing. If it isn't, give it a go anyway. I think it would be a great album to start off with if you want to get into the genre but don't know where to begin. 

EnkElination - Tears of Lust 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Noisy Toyz Forever One Review by Amelia

Current Line-Up: 
Lisa Axworthy - Vocals 
Mars Marshall - Guitars, Keyboards, Orchestrations 
Dave Jenkins - Bass
Steve Cartwright - Drums

01 Avalon 
02 In Paradise 
03 Forever One 
04 Trail of Tears 
05 April Rain 
06 Salvation 
07 Memories 
08 Path of Eternity 
09 Broken Dreams 
10 The Last Dance

First and foremost, can we just take a moment to appreciate "The Phantom of the Opera" esque artwork? I think it fits nicely with the lyrical themes running throughout the album. 

Speaking of the album, it was truly a pleasure to listen to. The opening track "Avalon" stuck out to me the most for I felt as though it was like I was listening to a musical. "In Paradise" will have you humming the song long after you are done listening to the album. The title track "Forever One" has a very Within Temptation feel to the song what with Lisa presenting the listener with her higher notes. "Trail of Tears" is one of my favourites on the album as I find it's one of the more darker songs and it's very reminiscent to the sound of Leaves' Eyes. 

All in all, I was very impressed with the quality of the album as a whole and I look forward to hearing more from the band in the future. If you are familiar with symphonic metal, don't hesitate to give these guys a listen. You won't be disappointed!

You can purchase "Forever One" from their webshop:  

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Delain The Human Contradiction Review by Amelia

Score: 7.5/10

Current Line-up:

Charlotte Wessels - vocals
Martijn Westerholt - keys
Sander Zoer - drums
Otto Schimmelpenninck - bass
Timo Somers - guitars

Guest Musicians:

Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy, ex-The Agonist) - vocals
Marco Hietala (Nightwish) - vocals
George Oosthoek - vocals


01 Here Come the Vultures
02 Your Body Is A Battleground
03 Stardust
04 My Masquerade
05 Tell Me, Mechanist
06 Sing To Me
07 Army Of Dolls
08 Lullaby
09 The Tragedy Of The Commons

"The Human Contradiction" is the latest release from the Dutch band, Delain.

When I first listened to this album, I immediately noticed a change in musical style. It was much heavier compared to their previous album, "We Are The Others", and I felt as though it had an almost poppy feel here and there. I also thought that it was very reminiscent to how they sound live.

The band are known in the symphonic metal community for having guest musicians on their albums, most notably, Marco Hietala (Nightwish), who has been collaborating with the band since their debut album "Lucidity". On "The Human Contradiction", he features on "Your Body Is A Battleground", in which Napalm Recrods released a lyric video for and "Sing to Me", where Charlotte and Marco sing a duet together. Amongst this dreamlike host of guest musicians is Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy, ex-The Agonist), who features on "The Tragedy of the Commons". She contributes both clean vocals and grunts on this song which, I think, adds a really nice touch to the song by making it even heavier than it already is. And last but not least, with the addition of George Oosthoek who, like Marco Hietala, has collaborated with the band since "Lucidity", the album is rounded off nicely as a whole. 

My favourite songs from the album are Here Come the Vultures, My Masquerade, Sing to Me and Lullaby. 

The reason why I have given the album a 7.5/10 is because it was difficult for me to get into at first because of the change in musical style. I will say that, if you are familiar with Delain, it will take you a couple of listens to get used to their new sound but after that, I'm sure you will love it just as I do! 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

La Ventura White Crow Review by Amelia

Score: 8.0/10

Current Line-Up:
Carla van Huizen - Vocals
Sasha Kondic - Guitars
Mike Saffrie - Bass
Ranzo van Poecke - Drums

01 Falling Down
02 Human Vanity
03 Close To You
04 Song For An Idiot
05 White Crow
06 Drowning
07 Time And Time Again
08 Neverending Story
09 The Only One
10 Watch Me Go

If you're looking for heavy then look no further.

Since their formation in 2007, La Ventura have yet to stray from the path of success. With the release of "Trefoil", followed the release of their debut album "A New Beginning" and later in 2013, a record deal with Ravenheart Music Records and Valkyrie Rising.

The bands' biography describes their sound as "a great blend of melody mixed with metal, topped with groove and powerful rock vocals". Their latest release, and the album in which I am going to review, "White Crow", clearly demonstrates the bands' musical talent as a whole. Upon listening to this album, the listener is instantly drawn in by heavy guitar riffs as well as powerful female vocals flawlessly delivered by singer Carla van Huizen. 

The band have often been compared to Evanescence and Lacuna Coil but, I think that they are very different as they have their own sound which is almost like you're listening to a live album when really, you're listening to an album that was recorded in a studio setting.

Having recently been announced to play at Metal Female Voices Fest this year, the band only continues to move along the path of success. If you're into symphonic metal, I highly recommend giving La Ventura a listen or two, especially if it's heavy you're after! 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Van Canto Dawn Of The Brave Review by Amelia

Score: 8.5/10

Formed in 2006, Van Canto are a unique quintet singing what they call "hero metal a capella". The band consists of two lead singers with the rest of the members mimicking guitars, bass and keys.

Current Line-up:
Dennis Schunke - lead vocals
Inga Scharf - lead vocals
Ross Thompson - higher guitar vocals
Stefan Schmidt - lower guitar vocals, solo guitar vocals
Ingo Sterzinger - bass vocals
Bastian Emig - drums 

01 Dawn of the Brave
02 Fight For Your Life
03 To The Mountains
04 Badaboom
05 The Final Countdown
06 Steel Breaker
07 The Awakening
08 The Other Ones
09 Holding Out For A Hero
10 Unholy
11 My Utopia
12 Into The West
13 Paranoid

Dawn of the Brave opens with an intro, quickly questioning the listener asking "what's to come next". It also proposes their genre to those who are new to the band. This then proceeds onto the first song of the album called "Fight For Your Life" which delves into inspirational lyrical themes. In particular, the second song on the album "To The Mountains" is one of my favourites as it tells a story about a warrior who was called to go into battle with an old friend. While I admire bands such as Rhapsody Of Fire who compose songs with similar lyrical themes, this song was right up my street.
"Badaboom" is the next song on the album. The band recorded a video for this song where they dressed up as iconic metal musicians. The message I gathered having watched the video is that, the music business is changing. The music business needs instruments to be able to continue successfully, however, it has been proven that music can be created without instruments. The video then goes on to suggest that, if all instruments suddenly vanished, musicians would become lost and the music business would collapse. 
"The Final Countdown" by Europe is the first cover song listeners come to on the album. When I read that the band were to cover this song, I was curious as to how it would sound. It's a cover song so it's different when comparing it to the original version. The band have added their own touches to the song and all in all, I really like the way it turned out. 
It would be impossible for me to review "Dawn of the Brave" without talking about "Into The West". As some of you already know, I'm a fan of J.R.R Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings film trilogy by Peter Jackson. Whilst I love the original song (sung by Annie Lennox of The Eurythmics), Van Canto have again, added their own touches to the song and have forever embedded a smile upon my face. 

On previous releases, Van Canto have had guest musicians sing on their cover and original songs. Some of the names included are Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger), Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) and Jokaim Broden (Sabaton). On this album, there aren't any guest musicians. A part from "Dawn of the Brave", "A Storm To Come" is the only other Van Canto album to not include a guest singer. 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Amberian Dawn Re-Evolution Review by Amelia

Amberian Dawn is one of those bands where I'll listen to their music every now and then but, I can't say I love them. However, this all changed when they released "Circus Black" last year. I even bought "End of Eden" and "Re-Evolution". I've found it difficult to find physical copies of their older albums here in the UK without running into an imported version or buying from their webshop which, it looks like I'll be doing soon!
Albums which I've bought recently from other bands, have either been a hit or miss when it comes to the overall quality of the album. With "Re-Evolution", it's more than a hit, it's a gem.  I hear all the time from bands that "our new album is heavier than our previous album" so you end up getting the album and it's no different from their last. I'm not that well educated in music when it comes to describing how a band has changed their sound but, if you've listened to Amberian Dawn's older albums with Heidi on vocals, you'll notice straight away that "Re-Evolution" is heavier. For this album,  the band has re-recorded all eleven songs and has added new arrangements here and there so it's all fresh and new.
I'd also like to make a comment about the artwork. It's the most beautiful artwork I've seen for a metal album! I consider this album a staple in my CD collection as it's an all round well-done album.
It's definitely an album worth checking out if you're new to symphonic metal or are looking for a new band to listen to though, I would recommend listening to "Re-Evolution" first before diving into their older albums.

Highlights: Valkyries, Incubus, Come Now Follow, Circus Black
Rating: 8.5/10

Monday, 25 March 2013

Nightland In Solemn Rise Review by Amelia

01 In Solemn Rise
02 Soulprison of Pain
03 Diamond Siren
04 Knights of the Dark Empire
05 Nightland

I first heard of Nightland when they followed me on Twitter. I decided to check out their music and I really liked what I heard!

At first listen, you would think they're from Finland or Sweden so I was surprised to read that they were, in fact, from Italy. Italy appears as somewhat of a "home" for power metal (Rhapsody of Fire, Vision Divine, Secret Sphere, Ancient Bards etc) nevertheless, Nightland are deserving of a spot amongst such names.
Their first release "Knights of the Dark Empire" sets a musical base for the band, demonstrating their grandeur which proceeds onto their latest release, "In Solemn Rise". What continues to draw me to the band is the quality of their songs. I have been put off many bands due to their vocals being mixed too low or their drums too high etc but what I like about this band is how well their songs are blended together. I took the time to listen to everything they've put  online so far and I don't have anything bad to say about what I've heard. I've found myself going back and listening to them every now and then!
The band have also recorded a music video for "Diamond Siren" which is taken from "In Solemn Rise". When I watched the video for the first time, it reminded me of "Dio Meets Ensiferum" but, of course, in a good way!
All in all, Nightland is definitely a band worth checking out.

Highlights: Soulprison of Pain, Knights of the Dark Empire, Diamond Siren
Rating: 8/10

Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Answer Apocalypse 666 Review by Marcus

Review of „The Mystery“ - Apocalypse 666
„The Mystery“ from Germany, have been active since 1996 and have recently released their 5th album „Apocalypse 666“. After a few lineup changes, they recorded „Apocalypse 666“ with Iris Boanta as their new vocalist.

When you listen to „Apocalypse 666“, it's like you're listening to female fronted metal from the 80s and you're forced to tap your foot to the music. The second track on the album starts with a spoken intro which transitions into heavy riffs and double bass drum fire. Iris' voice sounds similar to other well known female vocalists active in the 80s, just rough hoarse vocals.

The songs are catchy and are well arranged. Riffs and solos of the two guitars are well placed and are sourrounded by a versatile bass player. Drums are not running on double bass through all the songs but are supporting the bass player on a varied way.

The only ballad on the album „In Heaven or Hell“ seems to be a bit of a must have and isn't that powerful as it has the potential to be. On the other hand, one of the title tracks „Nailed to the Cross“ is an uptempo track on which you can hear the power of Iris' voice.

Unsure if The Mystery are fitting to your musical expecations? Just visit their site and have a look on their Youtube-Channel.



01. Doomsday Prophecy
02. Apocalypse 666
03. Outlaw
04. Blackened Ivory
05. Nailed to the Cross
06. Death's Lullaby
07. War Cry
08. Ride On
09. Ca$hgame
10. In Heaven or Hell
11. Assaulted Minds
12. The Great Escape

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Dimlight Psychosynthesis Review by Vera Luz

The first time I heard about Dimlight was before Metal Female Voices Fest X. To prepare myself for the festival, I started listening to some of the bands that were going to be playing there. I had never heard of most of them and I have to say that Dimlight was a most pleasant surprise!
    At the time they hadn't released their latest album, so I started with Obtenebration and it just sent me to a time and place that I'd almost forgotten. Since they were releasing their new album, Psychosynthesis on 20th October 2012, the second MFVF X day, I had the chance to listen some of their new material live for the first time, and as I was expecting, they didn't let me down!

Psychosynthesis is a strong, dark album. Dark lyrics, powerful guitars and drums with the addition of a beautiful touch of keyboards that remind you of the old days of Within Temptation, only with a darker atmosphere. Furthermore, it isn't an easy album for the ones who were used to Obetenebration since Sanna's voice is more powerful and raw so you have to learn to enjoy her new approach on vocals.
    Psychosynthesis is delivered in almost the same way as their previous album: it has a great start with a strong and powerful song called "Agonize" but somehow, that sense of power fades away a little bit and the songs that follow begin to feel the same as the last. And then, when you feel like giving up on them, they bring you Cardinal Sins! This song brings everything you can expect from a great gothic metal band: powerful vocals, strong guitars and great growls! I have to say that Invoker is delivering them MUCH BETTER now... not only on the album but live as well. From now on you just get hooked and can't stop listening to it because all the songs which follow give you that sense of a dark embracing atmosphere where you just want to close your eyes and feel it in your skin. Master of Our Fate, Sanna's favorite song, closes the album with a lesson: that only we are responsible for what we are to become in this life.
Overall, this is a well delivered gothic metal album that has that "je ne sais quoi" which most bands don't deliver anymore, and that is what makes Psychosynthesis special.

    Highlights: Cardinal Sins, Mind's Game and Master of Our Fate.